Marc Marquez stamped his authority on the first day of free practice at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas in preparation for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas with the Repsol Honda rider finishing fastest ahead of his teammate Dani Pedrosa and LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl.
It's been a very positive first day. We took the top time and this is important.
Marquez continued on his from a private pre-season test held at the circuit in March and romped to the best day one time of 2m 5.031s and at one stage the Spanish rookie was chasing Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi as if it was raceday! Pedrosa also made the most of the experience from the private test and finished with a best lap of 2m 5.585s while Bradl was consistently quick on the satellite RC213V and set a fastest time of 2m 6.173s. Round one winner Jorge Lorenzo finished 4th fastest on the Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 setting a best time of 2m 6.637s with teammate Rossi in 5th (2m 6.868s).
Cal Crutchlow continues to make headway at the front of the field and set the 6th fastest time of 2m 6.899s for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team and ahead of Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso in 7th place 2m 7.236s with the Italian stopping on track with what appeared to be a mechanical fault during the session. Alvaro Bautista ended day one in 8th place for the Fun&Go Honda Gresini team setting a best time of 2m 7.256s while Nicky Hayden finished 9th fastest with a best lap of 2m 7.699s with his fellow countryman ben Spies one place behind on the Pramac Racing Ducati (2m 8.034s).
The top CRT rider today went to Aleix Espargaro and the Power Electronics Aspar team 2m 8.299s with Yonny Hernandez (Paul Bird Motorsport) in 12th with a best lap of 2m 9.374s. Bradley Smith didn’t get really up to speed on the new track today and finished in 13th place on the second of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 with a best time of 2m 9.424s while Randy De Puniet was close behind with a best lap of 2m 9.739s for the Power Electronics Aspar team. Andrea Iannone ended day one in 15th place with a best time of 2m 9.860s for the Pramac Racing team.
Bryan Staring set the 22nd best time of 2m 12.462s for the Fun&Go Gresini CRT effort while Colin Edwards ended day one in 23rd on a best time of 2m 12.504s with Hector Barbera in 24th place for the Avintia Blusens team setting a best time of 2m 12.573s. There are two American wildcards entered into this weekend’s race and the best today was Blake Young for the Attack Performance Racing CRT team with a best lap time of 2m 13.158s while Mike Barnes finished in 26th for the GPTech team (2m 16.169s). Tomorrow’s third free practice session will determine what ten riders progress automatically into the second qualifying session while the remaining positions are determined in the first session with two bonus places for Q2.
Marquez was very happy with his performance today and said, “It's been a very positive first day. We took the top time and, even though these are only practice sessions, this is important. I think that the key to this Grand Prix is that day-after-day, session-by-session, the grip levels will improve. We have to be aware of this and also to the temperatures - which vary a lot, with much more heat in the afternoon than in the morning. We need to find which tire works best for every session, and above all we will be working with the race in mind. Let's see if tomorrow we can continue along the same upward path.”
Pedrosa was concerned about the traction on the Texan track and is hopeful for better conditions tomorrow. He said, “Today was a difficult day, because the track had no grip and in general I think all the riders had problems leaning the bike over in the corners. In the morning the tyres took a bit of a beating, but in the afternoon the situation improved a little. In the second session we were able to ride a little better, although I hope that the circuit grip levels increase in the run up to the race, so that we can also improve with them.”